Dental implants are a practical solution to restoring your smile if you have missing or rotted teeth. They are an alternative to dentures or even just living with a partial mouth. Getting dental implants is a major life-changing decision that should be carefully considered. As with any medical or dental procedure, there are pros and cons. Read through these six most frequently asked questions about the process for a quick understanding of dental implants.
1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed surgically into your jawbone. These implanted posts are typically made of titanium for strong, permanent placement. A benefit of getting dental implants include providing a stable foundation for attaching replacement teeth such as crowns, bridges, or dentures. With dental implants, you have faux teeth that look and act as authentic teeth.
2. Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
A good candidate for dental implants is usually someone with good oral health, sufficient bone density in the jaw, and healthy gums. In some cases, someone who has suffered from poor oral health in the past but shows sufficient improvement may be eligible for implants. A consultation with a dentist or oral surgeon is necessary to determine each individual person’s eligibility. Some additional procedures such as bone grafting may be required to create a solid foundation for the implant. No matter what your scenario, a dentist or surgeon will make the final decision on whether you are a good fit.
3. How long does the dental implant procedure take?
The process for dental implants is typically set out in several stages or phases and often takes several months to complete. The first step is your initial consultation and treatment planning with your doctor. After you’ve finalized your treatment plan, you’ll undergo any tooth removal procedure necessary. Next, you will have implant surgery, sometimes done all at one time and other times spaced out. After the installation of the implants, you need healing time for the implants to take a strong hold and for your gums to adjust. Finally, you’ll have your artificial teeth or restorations attached.
4. Are dental implants painful?
Implant placement surgery utilizes local anesthesia to prevent patients from experiencing pain during the procedure. After the surgery, once the anesthesia has worn off, there may be mild pain, discomfort, and swelling of the mouth and gums. Over-the-counter pain relievers are generally strong enough to control this pain. The post-surgical pain typically subsides within a few days. Once the gums and bone have healed and implants have taken hold, patients should not experience pain.
5. How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to be a long-term solution and can last many decades or even a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. You must practice good oral hygiene, even if you no longer have natural teeth. Routine dental checkups are integral to maintaining good oral health and look for any issues that could compromise the integrity of your implants. Occasionally, an artificial tooth may need repair or replacement, but the implants should stay sturdy over time.
6. Are dental implants expensive?
Dental implants are more expensive than other tooth replacement options like dentures or bridges. However, due to the longevity of dental implants, this higher expense upfront could even out over the years. Dentures and bridges are often damaged or misplaced, necessitating a new appliance. Dental implants are permanent, save for an occasion tooth or bridge, and don’t require care after placement. The actual cost of dental implants varies individually due to the extent of work that needs to be done, additional procedures required, and geographical location.
Now that you’ve read through some of the most sought-after information on dental implants, it’s time to consider all your options. Research other options such as dentures and bridges and weigh the benefits of each. Once you are ready to take the next step, schedule a consultation with your dentist or oral surgeon to be sure you are a good candidate and understand all your information. The knowledge and advice of a professional is the best information you can get. Only a doctor can decide if you meet the criteria for dental implants.